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Surgeon Removes Woman’s Ovaries and Fallopian Tubes by Mistake

May 7, 2020

Forty-four year-old Claudia Bond of Houston started to experience severe stomach cramps and called on her OBGYN, Dr. Gerald Bullock at Conroe Women’s Associates. Claudia had a serious bleeding problem the OBGYN diagnosed as an issue with her uterus. Dr. Bullock recommended her uterus be removed. Claudia agreed to have two procedures: a vaginal hysterectomy, which removes the uterus but leaves the ovaries and fallopian tubes intact, and bladder repair surgery.

However, during surgery, Claudia’s ovaries and fallopian tubes were removed without her permission. And, she wasn’t informed of this mistake for weeks after the surgery.

Claudia brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Bullock; his practice, Conroe Women’s Associates; and the hospital, Conroe Regional Medical Center (now owned by Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare).

The Details of Post-Op

The morning after surgery, a nurse visited Claudia’s hospital room and gave her an estrogen tablet. She wondered why she would need the hormone supplement when she still had her ovaries.

When she also asked her doctor, Dr. Bullock reassured her she had her ovaries. Claudia says the doctor responded, “No, no, no. You have your ovaries. They were normal. They are fine. Everything is good.”  Reassured from her doctor, Claudia was released to go home to recover further.

Unfortunately, at a post-operative check-up a few weeks later, she was given bad news.

“(Dr. Bullock) fell back into his stool, and he went white as a ghost. I said, ‘Dr. Bullock are you OK?’ And he said, ‘Oh, my God,’” Claudia said. That’s when the doctor told Claudia, “I’m going to have to apologize to you. I’m really sorry, but you don’t have your ovaries.”

Later, in a recorded deposition, Dr. Bullock told attorneys that he admitted to mistakenly removing Claudia’s ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Your Doctor May Not be in the Best Physical Health, Which Can Result in Injuries

Dr. Bullock admitted to Claudia that six weeks prior to her procedures, he told the CEO of the hospital that he was being evaluated for Parkinson’s disease and that his memory was faulty at times. He confirmed that conversation with the medical center repeatedly in his six-hour deposition, which went as follows:

“Dr. Bullock, you admit you made a mistake in removing Claudia’s ovaries and fallopian tubes?” an attorney asked him during the recorded deposition. “Correct. We’ve said that so many times. Yes, I agree,” Bullock replied. “And you’ve attributed it, your error in this case, to your failed memory—a symptom of your Parkinson’s, correct?” the attorney asked. “Yes,” Bullock said.

The Hospital Violated the Law

Claudia filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Health Services, which cited the hospital for breaking laws and violating its own policies by not doing a peer review of the surgery. “The hospital has never taken responsibility or ownership. It’s like they just wanted to sweep it under the rug,” Claudia contends.

In a statement to the media, Conroe Regional Medical Center said, “The hospital took proper steps to ensure that Dr. Bullock was medically cleared to continue taking care of patients at the facility.”

And in Claudia’s medical malpractice lawsuit, the hospital and the Conroe Physicians Group denied having any legal responsibility.

Claudia, a wife and mother of four, must now deal with the effects of that surgery, which include another medical diagnosis: acute estrogen deficiency syndrome. “My life’s been destroyed, and I just feel that there were red flags all the way along that could have avoided the whole situation,” Claudia said. Claudia thought she was safe and in good hands with her doctor. But his mistake caused her irreparable damage.

What are the Risks of an Oophorectomy?

An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both of a woman’s ovaries. The risks of an oophorectomy include:

  • Bleeding;
  • Infection;
  • Damage to nearby organs;
  • Rupture of a tumor, spreading potentially cancerous cells;
  • Retention of ovary cells that continue to cause signs and symptoms, such as pelvic pain, in premenopausal women (ovarian remnant syndrome); and
  • The inability to get pregnant on your own, if both ovaries are removed.

These are some of the problems Claudia may experience from the unauthorized oophorectomy.

Takeaway

Doctors can be sick, injured, or suffering from a disease, like what looks to be the case with Dr. Bullock’s Parkinson’s diagnosis. Was he really medically cleared to perform surgery?

A doctor or surgeon’s inability to perform a procedure proficiently can cause injury, as was the case with Claudia. And when those injuries are severe, a victim may bring a medical malpractice action to recover damages.

At Buchanan Firm, our combined legal-medical team has decades of successful experience handling medical malpractice cases, including cases involving surgical errors and incorrect medical diagnoses. Our medical professionals at the law firm can speak to you immediately and review your claim. Our Michigan medical malpractice lawyers quickly and efficiently assesses the medical facts and takes immediate action to protect your legal rights.

Please contact us today.